A “criminal, drunk, dangerous driver” who badly injured an innocent man before being “aggressive” to those who tried to help has finally faced justice.

Joseph Dearden had downed seven pints of lager and five shots on the night of Friday, August 13, 2021 when he got back into his van on Darwen Road, Bromley Cross.

Nearly three years on, Bolton Crown Court heard just how drunk he had been before getting back into the van and causing a devastating crash.

Prosecutor Neil Ronan said: “He staggered out of the pub backwards and forwards and was unsteady on his feet.”

He added: “It seems he tried to return to the pub, was not allowed back in and proceeded to drive off in his Renault van.”

Dressed in a dark grey suit, Dearden, 27, of Hathaway Drive, Sharples, looked on impassively from the dock as Mr Ronan described how he drove at high speeds along the road.

That night Blake Allsop had been travelling home after meeting a friend, travelling at the normal speed limit and “in no rush to get home”, Mr Ronan said.

The Bolton News: The van Dearden had been driving The van Dearden had been driving (Image: Public)

He saw Dearden driving towards him and thought he would simply “zoom past him”, only for Dearden to hit several parked cars at the side of the road.

Mr Ronan said: “In the event, the defendant was at such a high speed that when he when he hit the parked cars he then careered into path of the victim and then into an additional Land Rover.”

Mr Allsop became trapped in his car when people living nearby “a credit to their neighbourhood” came out to help before the police and firefighters arrived.

The Bolton News: Joseph Dearden has now been jailedJoseph Dearden has now been jailed (Image: GMP)

Dearden did not come over to check whether anyone was alright and instead was “rude and aggressive” to those who tried to help.

Mr Ronan said: “He persisted in trying to light a cigarette when there was petrol on the ground.”

Mr Allsop, a promising DJ who had hoped to join a football team set up by old school friends, was eventually cut free from the car but suffered severe long lasting injuries.

The court listened in silence as he laid bare the effect that Dearden’s criminal actions that night had had on him in the months and years since.

The Bolton News: Dearden caused a devastating crash Dearden caused a devastating crash (Image: Public)

Mr Allsop said: “My life has been on hold for all of that time, time that I will never get back, time that has been very dark and exhausting for me, my family and all of my friends.”

The now 26-year-old had to stay in hospital for three weeks, needed surgery several times, and required a further seven weeks of care home by nurses.

The effects from that night had lasted right up to the present day, all down to the actions of a “criminal, drunk, dangerous driver".

Dearden was arrested at the scene before at first trying to deny his crime, pleading not guilty at a hearing on August 22, 2022.

The Bolton News: Dearden caused the head on crash on Darwen RoadDearden caused the head on crash on Darwen Road (Image: Public)

But before a trial could take place, he changed his plea to guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and drink driving.

Adrian Eissa KC, defending, said that Dearden was entitled to credit for his guilty plea, pointed out that he was “of previous good character” and had not committed any crimes since.

He said Dearden’s behaviour that night was “out of character and unlikely to be repeated” and that he had been leading an “honest, productive life” since then.

Mr Eissa also said that Dearden's father's business, which he worked for, would suffer as a result of him being imprisoned. 

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But the Honorary Recorder for Bolton Judge Martin Walsh pointed to reports that said Dearden “may be in denial about the offence".

Addressing the defendant directly, he said: “After several hours of drinking, you made a conscious decision to get into a motor vehicle and drive.”

Judge Walsh added that even if it were possible to have suspended Dearden’s sentence, he would not have done so.

He sentenced Dearden to two years and six months in prison and handed him a four-year driving ban.

The defendant, who had remained silent throughout, wordlessly walked down from the dock into the cells below.